Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Singing Songs to Heavy Hearts




I am reminded of a scripture the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart just before we held our first public gatherings in Harrisburg, PA.  It was the fall of 2004 and every morning, at around 5:30AM, I would go to our facility in Uptown Harrisburg to pray. I was desperately seeking God for wisdom in how to reach out in what was a foreign land for me. 

After serving for 17 very successful years in my home church, I was keenly aware that I would need a new strategy in this new season and new region of the country. I will never forget this simple, yet profound passage from Proverbs 25:20, 

"Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart." ---(NKJV)

"Like one who takes off a garment in cold weather, or like [a reactive, useless mixture of] vinegar on soda, Is he who [thoughtlessly] sings [joyful] songs to a heavy heart." ---(AMP)

I recall how I first shared this word with our team. I didn't quite know how to implement it, accept to tell them that we would change our strategy. We would no longer be placing emphasis on the typical church gathering. Instead we would place more emphasis on prayer and teaching to bring healing to heavy hearts.

This scripture had literally snatched away all of the strategies that worked for us in our home city. God was clearly telling me that if we tried to do what worked before, we would be like those who were taking away garments in cold weather. 

Our current strategy would be like pouring vinegar on a substance called nitre. Vinegar dissolves the nitre, and makes it useless and ineffectual. Our method would make our efforts useless. We would not be comforting the lost and hurting. Instead, we would be thoughtlessly agitating them and making things worse. 

It took several months and years for us to understand the weight of that scripture. We've had a variety of people to come and go through the years. As individuals and families began to attend, each person came with severe damage in their hearts and homes. 

Over the years we have had to make several adjustments in our approach to serve and help people. We could no longer do what we had always done in previous years. We could not always start our sessions with joyful songs (praise and worship). Many struggled with this because we had always been taught, according to Psalm 100:4 that we must "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise."

But something amazing happened as we followed the leading of the Holy Spirit. We found that when it came to heavy hearts, if we jumped right into the issues of life, that the joyful songs came forth in the midst of their healing process.

Sometimes we simply started our gatherings with prayer, but by the time we came to the end of our sessions, we would somehow end with joyful songs. We found that when we started with conversation or even prelude music that spoke to the hurting souls, that it was like GIVING them warm garments on a cold day.

We look back over the years and we are amazed at how accurate that simple scripture was for our strategy in this community, and how appropriate it is for many devastated families across this nation, today. This Proverbs 25:20 understanding has forced us to stop following formulas and church traditions that no longer work. 

We are moving into the new seasons with great excitement and anticipation. Now we know how to better describe our work. We are a ministry that prepares and trains Believers to rebuild their families to serve in the community. We now have open doors to work with a local employment service, a women's shelter, and a drug/alcohol addiction recovery center. We are teaming up with intercessors for a weekly corporate prayer gathering that will give us the opportunity to collectively stand in the gap for this city, region and state.

Many of the community outreach efforts in our inner cities have been established by Believers. Most of them are looking to the Church to supply the volunteers and resources to help them reach the lost in their neighborhoods. We believe that we are one of those ministries that is called to raise up and train Believers who can serve with various community outreach efforts. We don't need to start new community outreaches. All we need to do is prepare God's people to go and bring aid to the places that are already on the front lines.

One of the prophetic words that was spoken over us, when we were sent to Harrisburg in 2004, was that we would strengthen that which was already built. So, we were not sent to Harrisburg to start anything new. We were sent to build people, so they could be released to serve households, neighborhoods, ministries and outreach efforts that have already been established.

From year to year we are moving forward in the zeal and excitement in which we approached our assignment way back in 2004. We are seeking God for His wisdom in how to minister to heavy hearts. And whatever HE speaks and however HE tells us to do it, we will obey HIS word.

We look forward to singing songs to joyful hearts!

Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Green Family

We pray that you experience the genuine love of God as you spend time with family and friends during this holiday season.

As you know, we've been talking about Christmas a lot over the past four weeks.

Did you know that December 25th is not the actual birth date of Jesus Christ? Did you know that this was a date that was established by the Roman Catholic Church when they initiated a Mass during the same season that pagans were already engaged in various winter solstice celebrations? That's how the term Christ Mass was established. It was all part of an effort to covert people to Christianity. However they failed to steer the people away from the sun god rituals in spite of the new church-initiated Mass to celebrate the Son of God.

We share this with you because many skeptics use this well established historical fact to attack Christians who are ignorant of church history. They feel that this discrepancy concerning the birth of Christ, gives them leverage to deny the Bible and the Son of God.

Many Believers already know that the Bible never says that Christ was born in December. The point is that it doesn't matter that He wasn't born on December 25th. We believe this church-initiated celebration should no longer attempt to celebrate December 25th as Christ's date of birth. Now it can be used to celebrate the REALITY and PURPOSE for His birth.

Since millions of people have come into the Faith as Protestants, they have never been aware of the history behind Christmas. Most of that history is very negative and even involves an annual persecution of Jewish people on that day.

The Christmas (Christ Mass) celebration has embraced many not-so Christian-like traditions and those traditions have become disconnected from historical facts and understanding. Of course the history is far more complicated than this, but we really don't have space to cover every detail in a simple newsletter. Hopefully, this will get you started in pursuing answers in your own personal study.

As a side note, many Biblical historians believe that Jesus was actually born at a much more significant God-ordained time (perhaps the Feast of Tabernacle). However, for most Jewish people, Christmas is directly connected with a negative history of persecution, and it is a 24-hour celebration declaring that Jesus Christ is the only way to come to Jehovah God; so they want no part of it.

Pagan rituals, like the evergreen tree, mistletoe and December 25th itself, have had attempts by many generations of the Church, to be Christianized and set apart from their wild, sensual and wicked celebrations. 

For instance, many songs (Christmas carols) have been written to point the celebration away from other gods to Christ. Christian meanings of the evergreen tree were reassigned and it was declared to be a symbol of new life in Christ and not an actual god to be worshipped.  Some church leaders vehemently rejected these ideas and they are still rejected by many to this day.

Since tree worship is firmly forbidden in scripture (Jeremiah 10), many Believers cannot, in good conscious, celebrate the season with an evergreen tree. Still there are others who desire to use this holiday, with its many pagan attachments, as a way to connect with their non-believing family and friends, for whom Christmas has no religious or spiritual meaning at all.

Over the past few weeks we have been offering very important points for us to consider for making Godly responses to the pagan origins of December 25th. As Christian life coaches, we have decided to provide practical answers and solutions for you and your family. 

Here are the four points we asked you to consider for responding to people who are caught in the midst of this controversy:

1.) Become all things to all men - 1 Corinthians 9:18-23 (NKJV)

2.) Don’t cause your brother to stumble - 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 (NKJV)

3.) Use the opportunity (holiday) to bless your enemies - Matthew 5:43-45 (NKJV)

4.) Continue in the early church lifestyle of giving to others/helping the poor - Acts 2: 40-47

This week we are offering the fifth response:

5.) Partake of the Lord's Table in Remembrance of Christ - Luke 22:14-20 (NKJV)

Jesus instructed His followers to partake of the communion table in remembrance of Him. The holiday season is another perfect opportunity to place emphasis on Jesus Christ by gathering to do what HE instructed us to do. That's what we choose to do every year with our Urban Life family. We did it this past Sunday.

Millions of Believers will gather in sanctuaries or in their homes to partake of Holy communion and truly reflect upon the reason Christ came into the world. 

These special gatherings remind us that the Son of God is not to be merely thought of as a baby lying in a manger, but as our Savior who was brutally beaten and nailed alive to a wooden cross. We should remember that He rose again from the dead to usher all of us into the Kingdom of God.

As we stated last week, we are simply trying to communicate that in spite of the historical facts, controversies and conflicts, CHRIST must truly become YOUR reason for this season and all year round.  The world will continue to celebrate the sun god (in all of its many names and forms) as part of their annual winter celebrations. WE must celebrate the Son of God and give a Godly RESPONSE to our non-believing family and friends, and to our Christian brothers and sisters who may not have this insight.

Enjoy the day and enjoy the season!
  
---Chris and Carol Green

Friday, December 4, 2015

Community Life Coaches Give Hope, Restore Dignity to the Unemployed in the City




In October of 2015, Community Ambassadors, Chris and Carol Green, began  conducting a Life Coaching workshop at EDSI - PA CareerLink® Capitol Region in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

EDSI operates the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program, serving the unemployed and underemployed populations of Pennsylvania. Their core services include job readiness workshops, job search, job club and other career development topics. 

This is the area where the Green's coaching workshops enter the picture. This is where they seized the opportunity to give hope and restore the dignity of those who were unemployed in their city.


After that first workshop, several people said the presentation gave them a new way to view themselves as they face a very tough job landscape. Most seemed to be very encouraged. 

Coach Chris Green said, "From our perspective, we were just thrilled to be able to move out beyond the walls of the church and reach people who needed hope in a time of great despair."

They were invited back again in November. 

"It was just before Thanksgiving so it was kind of tough for the participants," Coach Carol Green explained. "That month, we had a wonderful, engaging conversation as we explored various workplace personality profiles and offered tips on how to work with conflicting personality types and how to improve one's own responses to others."

The session came alive with conversation, questions and comments. During their sessions, the Greens introduced their Life Coaching website and offered the opportunity for participant to attend to their weekly small group sessions.

At that time, the Career Link site administrator sat in on part of the workshop and later proposed that the Greens return to conduct a sessions for her staff.


Afterwards, the Community Life Coaches were placed on the CareerLink regular monthly schedule.




World Peace Ambassador, Dr. Clyde Rivers calls Drs. Chris and Carol Green the leading skilled experts in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Green are certified master life coaches who founded the Fruitful Life Network, Inc. an innovative community care and coaching outreach. They are international columnist/writers with the award winning team of Dr. Clyde Rivers and iChange Nations Social Media News™. 

***

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's a Matter of Conscience



We trust that you are taking advantage of the holiday season to represent Christ. We also pray that you and your family are able to embrace and experience the love of God in a special way this year.

Last week we began discussing the controversies surrounding Christmas and how we, as Believers, can stop merely REACTING to the negative origins of December 25th and began making wise RESPONSES to this season.

We are offering at least Five Godly Responses to December 25th.

Last week we presented response #1:
Become All Things to All Men from 1 Corinthians 9:18-23.

This week we offer response #2:
Don’t cause your brother to stumble - 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 (NKJV)

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul was dealing with a matter very, very similar to the Christmas issue. Some Believers were participating in the practice of eating food that was offered to idols. They didn’t feel restricted because they knew that the idols were not real gods and they also knew that what goes into a person is not what defiles them. 

It’s the same for Christian Believers today who participate in modern Christmas rituals that have proven historical foundation in idol worship. They feel, just as those early Believers, that they are free in Christ Jesus.

However, Paul admonishes them to not allow their freedom to cause another brother to stumble. He explains that due to his brother's conscience, he does not have permission to participate in that practice. 

If another Believer is struggling with our practice it may wound their conscience. Paul actually says that we sin against our brother and Christ. The sin is not the practice itself, but it is in how the participation affects your brother.

Let’s read the letter: “Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

We realize that even though there are many things that are okay for Chris and Carol to do, as Christian life coaches and spiritual leaders in this community, they are not always expedient. Some things are not wise for us to do. Some things are not beneficial for us to do. There are many things that we were at liberty to say and do in Missouri that have proven to be offensive in Pennsylvania. So we don't do them for the sake of our brothers and sisters in this regional culture.

Why? Because we have an extremely important mission and purpose for being in Harrisburg. Some of our freedoms could go beyond merely offending another brother, and could actually cause them to stumble. Paul says that some of our freedoms could actually wound another brother’s conscience. Our freedoms can cause others, who are outside of the Faith, to continue in their ungodly practices. So we have learned that some things are just not worth it. Why risk losing potential brothers and sisters or wounding current brothers and sisters?

What are we saying to you today? Be very careful of what you practice in this controversial season. Allow the Holy Spirit to give you the 'yea and nay' about what you do. Don't question Him. Just obey Him.

We cannot, do not, must not and will not dictate what goes on in your home. Nor should you be fearful or embarrassed if you invite us to your home and you have Christmas lights decorating your windows, a wreath on your front door and a Christmas tree in your living room. We’re not the Christian Christmas police! God knows who is in your family and He knows the people who are part of your life. You are most likely connected to people where your response is what we mentioned last week ….I have become, to those who are without law, as without law.

Most of today’s Christmas practices don’t cause people any internal conflict because they have no knowledge of the history. But if you are closely connected with someone who has issues with these things, be very wise and sensitive to where they are in their conscience. They would require the response from last week's scripture ….to the weak, I became as weak.

Remember, a person’s beliefs are often deeply rooted in teachings, upbringing, history and life-long understandings. It really is a matter of their conscience. Don’t force someone to violate their own conscience. It’s not simply a matter of whether THEY are right or wrong about Christmas. Don’t let your freedom cause your brother to stumble.

Enjoy the holiday, enjoy your family!

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Holiday Challenge



It’s that time again! It’s the holiday season! Starting tomorrow we celebrate THANKSGIVING, and then the most festive time of the year (Christmas). The holidays draw many people to their families and it's the same for us.

After Thanksgiving, it will be time to prepare for Christmas, family, fellowship, food and.... controversy. Did you know that many people feel that Christmas should not be celebrated?

When you learn about some of its history you can understand why. Here are just a few reasons why it is not celebrated in many sectors of American society. You might have family or friends who feel this way:

1.) Christmas is just a capitalistic marketing ploy to manipulate the masses to spend money.
2.) There is no Christian church validation that Jesus was really born on December 25th.
3.) December 25th is a day on which Jews have been shamed, tortured and murdered.
4.) Many of the most popular Christmas customs – including Christmas trees, mistletoe, Christmas presents and Santa Claus – are modern incarnations of the most depraved pagan rituals ever practiced on earth.
5.) Most Christmas customs evolved from pagan rituals and practices and, therefore, should never be observed.

We agree that these are all very strong arguments for not participating in the festivities of the holiday. Many preachers across America will accurately and systematically destroy any reason a Christian Believer could possibly be connected to this season of the year.

However, as you know, we have built a reputation on controversy since moving to Harrisburg and we’re about to add more fuel to that fire.

Many Christians and religious people have taken the position that it is wrong to embrace things that were perverted and sinful in their origins. They feel we should never attempt to use these things for God. However, that's exactly what God did for us. Even though we were born in sin and shaped in iniquity, Christ died for us while we were still sinners. For anyone who receives Him, He gives them the right to become children of God. He changes us and sets us apart for His purpose. He didn't allow our sinful origins to keep us away from His divine purpose.

Now as His children, we have the opportunity to take advantage of a season that has very negative origins and highly commercialized, money-making schemes. This is one of the special times in which our families can be exposed to the reality of Jesus Christ and the true reason why He came to earth.

We believe that we must do much more than just debate about all the reasons why we should not celebrate Christmas. Most people simply REACT to the negative aspects of Christmas. We believe that we need to provide Believers some Godly ways to RESPOND to this season.

Beginning this week and up until Christmas, we want to give you Five Godly Responses to December 25th.

This week we’re presenting response #1: Become All Things to All Men.

In 1 Corinthians 9:18-23, Paul writes, "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you."

We see the Christmas season as the perfect opportunity to connect with many different kinds of people. This scripture does not mean that we become hypocrites and pretenders in order to indulge in secular practices. This is talking about connecting with people ON THEIR LEVEL of understanding. This is about identifying with them, the same way Christ identified with all of mankind.

Don't shun people because of what they believe or practice during this season. Don't isolate yourself from the office party or the family gathering because they may have decorations or rituals that are against your beliefs. Become all things to all men, so that you might by all means save some.

Enjoy the holiday, enjoy your family!

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Exposing the Real Enemies



Way back in 1994, I wrote a song called ‘What If’ and our youth ministry’s rap/evangelistic group took the tune and added a rap within the chorus. In that rap, a brilliant young artist asked the question, “Who’s the real enemy?” She challenged many of the negative issues in the urban community, but she kept taking her listeners back to the question: Who’s the real enemy?

Now, 21 years later, we find ourselves still asking the same question. We’re in a city that’s 800 miles from where we started, but God is moving in a powerful way as HE leads us in the fight for our families. This week we want to answer that question and identify a few of the enemies of our families.

Nehemiah 4:7-8 reads: Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.

Let’s take a closer look at these guys.

Sanballat was a Moabite. The Moabites were descendants of Lot, who had a child by one of his daughters and the child that was born was named Moab; Thus began the Moabite people. The Moabites worshipped Chemosh (ke-mosh). This god was honored with cruel and perverse practices like child sacrifices (burning babies alive) and heterosexual, homosexual and bi-sexual orgies.  

Sanballat represents the acceptance of heterosexual perversion and homosexuality.
He represents the willingness to sacrifice our children for wealth and personal success.
He represents those family secrets like molestation, incest, rape and abortion. These are major evil spiritual forces that are opposing your efforts to rebuild your family.

Tobia was an Ammonite. They were descendants of Lot also. Ben-Ammi was the child born to Lot after by his younger daughter. The resulting people group, the Ammonites, opposed the Israelites when they attempted to pass through their land in the Exodus. They had a history of making unreasonable demands in order to allow passage or when attacking others around them. They were bullies.

Tobia and the Ammonites represent those people and influences that seek to hinder your family from achieving goals and fulfilling purpose. They are constantly harassing and bullying anyone who is trying to do the right thing or live a Godly life. This is especially true when we observe this type of spiritual opposition to your efforts to rebuild your family.

The Arabs are the descendants of Ishmael, who was the son of Abraham from his wife's handmaiden, Hagar. Jews are descendants of Abraham's son Isaac from his wife Sarah. Therefore, Arabs and Jews both came from Abraham. Most Arabs, believe that it was Ishmael who has the birthright as Abraham’s first born. Jews and Christians hold to the understanding that Isaac has the birthright because he was the promised seed that came through Abraham’s wife.

In the context of this exhortation today, the Arabs represent the spiritual forces that contest your birthrights. They contest and fight against your rights to raise your children, your rights to protect your family, your rights to freedom of expression, and your rights to freedom of religious practice.

The last group we’ll talk about is the Ashdodites. They were Philistines and their name referred to the city in which they resided. The city’s name means, “I will spoil" The spoiler is that person who knows they can't defeat you, but they will do everything they can to cause as much hurt, harm and damage as they can anyway.

In sports, there are teams who have lost so many games that they no longer qualify for the playoffs or any championship bid. They take on the role as spoiler: to knock out other teams and put them in the same position.

Ashdodites represent the people who allow this evil spirit to work through them. They live in defeat. They aren’t going anywhere and aren’t going to do anything with their lives, yet they become envious and do all they can to prevent others from accomplishing their goals and dreams. That's the attitude and motivation of satan and demonic powers. They blew their chance with God, and now they work to spoil your life and your family. They know how things will end when all is said and done. However, they want to drag down as many people as they can.

As you can see, these are some formidable forces that are opposing us as we seek to fight for our families. Just remember that the human individuals or groups who are conspiring against you are not your real enemies. They are merely tools being used by satan and demonic powers. They have been so influenced by these evil spirits that they are convinced that they are right and you are wrong.

Now can you see how you and your family are being attacked? These are the spiritual forces that are at work against us. Please understand that the moment you decided to rebuild, restore and renew your family, these attacks were launched against you to create confusion and discouragement. But here is our response. Nehemiah 4:9 says - Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.

We're not going to launch political protests and campaigns. We are not advocating bashing anyone who is gay. We’re not approving the bombing of abortion clinics or the shooting of abortionist. We are not going to organize protests at city hall, the state capitol or at school district buildings. We're just going to set a prayer-watch against the enemy, day and night. Will you join with us this prayer campaign?

God didn’t tell us to come to Harrisburg and try to win, rally or revive the entire city. God sent us to Harrisburg and told us to bring FAMILIES together. That doesn’t mean all families will physically come to Urban Life. It just means God has given us a mandate to call the members of families to come together. God sent us to Harrisburg to share our lives and the Word with YOU. Our calling is not to necessarily reach ALL of Harrisburg. Our calling is to reach YOU. And then we are to equip you to reach your family. We’re just trying to do all that we can to help you and your household. We’re all in this battle together. 

That’s why we encourage you to keep pressing through all the opposition and continue to take advantage of our Sunday Life Coaching sessions. They are small gatherings, but they have proven to make a big impact on our hearts and homes.

Let’s keep pressing forward.

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Setting a Watch, Day and Night



We just returned from another out-of-state ministry assignment which included speaking in our home church in St. Louis, MO, USA. We continued our Fight for the Family prayer campaign as we released the word on Restoring the Gates and Walls of our Hearts and Homes. It was the first time we were able to release this vital prayer strategy in our home church. 

Once again, we were able to give a Body of Believers the charge to Set a Prayer Watch against the demonic forces that are attacking our families. Back in 1995, we wrote a song to speak to teenagers about the social and moral challenges they would have to face. The closing chorus went like this:

WILL WE CONFORM TO THE SYSTEM?
AND BE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE
BE A ZOMBIE INDIVIDUAL
LIKE THE ONES WHO NEVER REALLY CARED

WILL I CHOOSE THE RIGHT TO END A LIFE?
EXCHANGE MY SEXUALITY
LET SOMEONE ELSE DECIDE MY PATH
LET SATAN JUST RUN OVER ME?

….I DON'T THINK SO!

We realize many people will focus on only certain lyrics of this song. Activist groups will call us homophobic, fear mongering pastors. The liberal media will go forth with the popular political tactic of editing our videos and presenting quick 12-second sound-bytes taken totally out of the context of a 45 minute message.

We know the game and we are very familiar with this tactic. We don't care about their sound-byte, reputation-smearing tactics. There are just too many families in crisis in our city. There are too many hurting people for us to care about that anymore.

Through the years, we have been challenged to minister to people who were gay, straight, had gotten an abortion, who paid for an abortion, discovered they were HIV positive, or had some other STD (sexually transmitted disease). Some had children outside of marriage and many were broken, abused, addicted or unstable. We have never had a stone to throw at anyone.

By this we refer to the Biblical account of the woman who was caught in an adulterous affair. The religious leaders demanded her death by stoning. Jesus Christ, however, challenged them by saying, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone."

Let's be clear about what is happening today. When we speak about the many issues addressed in that song, we’re not casting stones. You see, casting a stone was not merely throwing out a protest or a disagreement with a choice or a lifestyle. Casting a stone was done to execute people; to kill people. That's what it really means to cast a stone. It means to attempt to execute somebody because of their sin.

Today, we officially declare to the popular media and to those who believe everything that they produce, that disagreeing with someone, challenging someone, or protesting against someone is not the same thing as casting stones to execute someone.

When we challenge the viewpoints to which we disagree, and more importantly, that disagree with the Bible, we are not attempting to execute anyone. We’re not trying to kill anyone. We have the right to disagree. We have the right to voice our disagreement. We have the right to base our disagreement on the Bible.

Please understand that the same Bible that addresses these issues also dictates our responses to people. We are supposed to be like the Father in heaven who loves everyone and provides sunshine and rain to everyone. We have loved, embraced, served and coached hurting people, even though we disagreed with their liefstyle choices.

So why bring up these issues at all? We bring them up because these controversial issues have wreaked havoc within our family relationships. Even though many of our opponents in society tell us to mind our own business and quit trying to force religion on them, here is our push-back statement:

"We’re not fighting to force our beliefs on them. We’re fighting because THEY have forced THEIR beliefs upon US and our children. And THEIR beliefs have affected the very foundation of OUR households."

Nehemiah wrote: Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night. (Nehemiah 4: 7-9)

We’re going to show you who your enemies have been.  Sanballat, Tobia, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites represent very strong spiritual forces who are our true enemies.

Your true enemies are not the people that we see fighting against family values. They are not the people that we see fighting for gay marriage. They are not the people we see fighting for the right to kill babies by building more abortion clinics in poor, minority communities. They are not even the people that we see stripping us of our rights as citizens. No, our enemies are old, ancient demonic forces that have risen again to oppose the will and purpose of God.

We’re calling upon the Urban Life family to take up your positions. We’re setting a watch against the enemy day and night.

Two years ago, we introduced the following prayer at the end of a gathering. Please take this prayer. Make copies and keep it with you. Look at it. Read it. Pray these words over your family every time you think about them. Join us in setting up this prayer watch for our families:

Recognizing that my fight is not against flesh and blood, political parties, activist groups or social movements, I stand here in the gap for my family.

With the spiritual weapons of prayer, praise, worship and the Word of God, I declare that I am not afraid of these spiritual enemies.

I remember the Lord, Great and Awesome, as I fight for my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters, my spouse and my household.

According to the promise in Isaiah 54:17,” No weapon that is formed against us will prosper; And every tongue that accuses us in judgment, we will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And our vindication is from the Lord.”

So Father God, I receive Your grace, favor, protection and wisdom.  And I thank You for giving Your angels charge over me and my family, to keep us in all of our ways.

Amen

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Repairing the Inspection Gate



This week we will talk about the tenth and final gate of our prayer walk around our hearts and homes. We will briefly discuss the Inspection Gate. The Hebrew word for the inspection gate means "the appointed place." 

Hebrews 9:27 reads, "It is appointed for man but once to die, and after that the judgment" -- the inspection!"

Restoring the inspection gate means restoring the understanding that one day we will all stand before God. This gate is a reminder that we must give an account of our journey in life. Many hearts and homes do not have this gate, so they tend to live shaped by iniquity (lawlessness) with a secular mindset (which is to have no regard for future consequences).

However, for the true disciples of Christ, who have established this gate, scripture encourages them by assuring them that the INSPECTION GATE, THE APPOINTED PLACE is where, according to First Corinthians 3, "....everyone shall receive commendation“ from God. 

For true disciples, the inspection gate gives them a sense of hope and expectation for receiving rewards and the acknowledgment of their faithful service.  1 Corinthians 3:8, 3:14 reads, "8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward."

Did you know that the Bible mentions three different judgments? There is a judgment of unbelievers, a judgment of Believers, and a judgment of the nations. For now, we want to focus on the judgment of Believers.

Romans 14:10-12 reads, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” 

2nd Corinthians 5:10 reads, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

Let’s take a closer look at what the Judgment Seat of Christ experience will actually BE like.

1 Corinthians 3: 11-15 (NIV) reads:
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss, BUT YET WILL BE SAVED —even though only as one escaping through the flames.  

However, for many of our friends and family, this isn't the judgment they will face. They will stand before God to be judged as unbelievers. This will be a horrible moment. That's why Carol and I are so intentional when it comes to personal and corporate evangelism efforts.

We realize that when it comes to sharing their faith, many Believers are very timid. That's why we are thankful for ministries like the Billy Graham Association, who provide various tools that make it very easy to 'break the ice' and share our faith.

In fact, this weekend we are helping you participate in their release of another My Hope film.
We are encouraging each of you to make plans to download and watch the film. Once you see it, you will know why it is so important that you share it with someone else. We will also distribute DVDs to you guys over the next few weeks. We urge you to participate in this effort, especially during the upcoming holiday seasons. (See icon below)

As a family, we're showing one of the My Hope films as part of our son's video game party with his old college buddies on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Our family has always been very enthusiastic about personal evangelism. We understand that when we stand before Jesus, HE will deal with each of us on the issue of soul winning and discipleship. We don't want to have to tell the Lord that we did nothing to increase His Kingdom influence in the lives of others.

SO HERE IS OUR SUMMARY OF THE INSPECTION GATE:  Restoring the inspection gate means restoring the understanding that one day we will all give an account to God for our lives, including our lives after we got saved. We will answer to God about everything, including soul winning. SO LIVE LIKE YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WITH GOD!

We’ve taken a journey from the sheep gate to the inspection gate and we’ve tried to present their symbolic meanings, their prophetic significance and their practical application. This completes our journey around the walls so that we can see the gates that must be restored in our hearts and homes. 

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Repairing the East Gate



This week we will continue our prayer walk around the gates and walls of our hearts and homes. Today we take our prayer walk to the East Gate. It is located on the eastern side of Jerusalem, opposite the temple area and facing the rising sun.

What does the East Gate tell us? The East Gate speaks of hope because it faces the sunrise. The sunrise speaks of the daily reminder that God's mercy is new every morning.

During the prayer gathering, when we presented this aspect of the gate-restoration project to the Urban Life family, we displayed a picture of the sunrise as it appears at the East Gate. Sunrise at the East Gate was a daily reminder that a new day is always coming. No matter how difficult and dark life might be right now, morning is coming.

This gate is obviously in ruins in many lives because of the hopelessness that is growing throughout our nation. Hopelessness is the source of a lot of despair and fatalistic behavior in America today. Many families seem to have no ability to cope with the trials of life. They have no East Gate. They have no hope.

Here are three scriptures that express the HOPE that is revealed by the East Gate:


Psalm 30:5 (NKJV) reads: For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 42:5 reads: 
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

Psalm 146:5 reads: 
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God,

When we first gathered to pray about the East Gate, we rehearsed the words to a popular Broadway tune from a musical called Annie.

The lyrics are: 
The sun will come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There'll be sun

Just thinkin' about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 'til there's none

When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely
I just stick up my chin and grin and say, oh

The sun will come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on 'til tomorrow, come what may!

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You're always a day away!

SONGWRITERS: CHARLES STROUSE; MARTIN CHARNIN
PUBLISHED BY: CHARLES STROUSE PUBLISHING;EDWIN H. MORRIS & CO., A DIV. OF MPL COMMUNICATIONS, INC.


A more spiritual song to express the East Gate is this well-known tune:

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me

He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way

SONGWRITER: DONALD JAMES MOEN
PUBLISHED BY: INTEGRITY'S HOSANNA! MUSIC

When we shared these lyrics with the Urban Life family, I began to weep because much of my life, as an inner city youth, was filled with hopelessness. I was the most pessimistic person you could ever have met. Since I was born into a grief-stricken household, sadness and sorrow were part of the core of my being. 

For Carol, after her parents split up, she had very little hope or expectations for life to ever get any better. Through the years, the East Gate was eventually built and established in our lives; especially in our marriage. Today we know, first-hand, why this gate must be built in our families. The EAST GATE is where Godly hope and expectation is established in our hearts and homes.

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Repairing the Horse Gate





We have been taking a weekly journey around the walls of Jerusalem, stopping to observe the condition of the gates that surround the city. We leaned that in 587 BC, Babylon attacked Jerusalem. They burned the Temple, the palace, all the houses, and all the important buildings. They broke down the city walls and burned the gates.

In about 466 BC, Nehemiah was an exiled Jew in the service of King Xerxes in Persia. He learned the Jews who remained in Jerusalem were rebuilding the Temple, but that the city’s defensive walls and gates were still destroyed. The Persian King gave Nehemiah permission and support to return to Jerusalem and begin the restoration process of the city’s gates and walls. 

This week we want to talk to you about the restoration of the Horse Gate. 

The horse gate was located next to the horse stables. Horses were used in battles against Israel's enemies. The horse is always the symbol of battle in Scripture.  This is the gate that reminds us that we are in a spiritual war! We must restore this understanding in every household, so they are prepared for spiritual attacks. There will be surprising events, and unexpected circumstances in our lives. Everybody is going to face a battle. However, we can be equipped for the battles.

Ephesians 6:11-13 (NKJV) reads: 
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

This is what we are geared up for daily, in order to fight this battle. We are not fighting against people. Your heart and home must accept this or else you will find yourself fighting against those who are not your true enemies.

We need to be alert to this reality of spiritual warfare. Let’s restore  the gate of spiritual warfare; the Horse Gate!

 ---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Return to the Water Gate


  
Today, as we continue our prayer walk around around the walls of our hearts and homes, we want to stop now at the water gate. Water, in Scripture, is the symbol of the Word of God or the Spirit of God.  

Here is the account of the water gate restoration from Nehemiah 3:26-27 (NKJV) ---
"Moreover the Nethinim who dwelt in Ophel made repairs as far as the place in front of the Water Gate toward the east, and on the projecting tower. After them the Tekoites repaired another section, next to the great projecting tower, and as far as the wall of Ophel."

The interesting thing about this account of the renovations around the Water Gate is that there is no indication that this gate needed the same level of repairs as the others. Perhaps this is a prophetic indicator that the challenge for us is not necessarily the restoration of the water gate, but the restoration of the areas that are taking time and attention away from this gate's role in our hearts and homes. Perhaps, this is a gate that many households simply have to start accessing again, accessing more often, or accessing for the first time.

This is the gate that reminds us of our need for the Word and Spirit of God. We must have the Word and Spirit, like the physical body must have water.

Jesus said, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."  (Matthew 4:4). 

We are receiving more than just inspiration and encouragement when we read the Word of God. We are literally drinking new life into our souls.

If we jump ahead to the completion of the entire wall and gate restoration project, we discover a profound event. We read in Nehemiah 8:1-3, 

"Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law."

The picture is very clear: Every family and household; every heart and home must restore and return to the water gate to receive the Word of God and the very presence (Spirit) of God.

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Repairing the Fountain Gate


  
Let's continue with our prayer journey around the gates and walls of Jerusalem, which in this context, represent our hearts and homes. This week we're focusing on the fountain gate.

The restoration of the fountain gate speaks of the living waters of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: ‘Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:38)

There is a fountain that God wants to release from within us, however, our hearts are clogged and blocked by many negative issues.

Just look at what the Bible reveals in Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV); Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. This scriptures urges us to consider the issues that are important to people because these issues are directly connected to what has happened in their hearts. 

Hearts have been damaged, crushed, raided, abused, and ravaged by abandonment, divorce, divisions, death, disasters, etc.  Restoring the fountain gate touches the very purpose for which God sent us out. HE sent us to people who have been deeply wounded in their souls. The very soul of America cries out and wails in anguish.

While religion points out and judges the behavior and actions of mankind, God looks at the wounded sin-sick soul and starts there.

This gate is for those souls today.

For most of us, our lives were devastated in early childhood. In Isaiah 61:4, we read, "And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities."

Former desolations refers to devastating things that happened in the past; in particular they refer to devastation that happened in the early years of your life.  

In my life (Chris), my soul was wounded before I was even born. My mom was pregnant with me when her youngest child was killed in a food-choking accident. Her grief and sorrow engulfed my unborn substance. I was an extremely melancholy inner city kid because I was always overwhelmed by grief, sorrow, and despair. I lived a very sad, depressed and pessimistic life, even after I gave my heart to the Lord. As human beings, we develop habits and vices as we turn to pacifiers and some other way to try to ease or comfort our pain.

I even developed a very violent and murderous temper and nearly killed my younger sister in an outburst of rage. Shortly afterwards, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and the rage was literally washed away in the streams of living water.

Last week, we talked about restoring the refuse gate and the many toxins that we need to eliminate from our lives, but this gate (fountain) is where we find the actual power and ability to follow through with those decisions to get the trash out of our hearts and homes.  

The Bible presents a very powerful admonishment: And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)

In this context, drunk means to be under the controlling influence of wine (or whatever it is that you turn to for comfort). The issue was not the mere drinking of wine, but the lack of moral restraint. The caution and warning is about becoming a person who is given to immoral and improper conduct. The emphasis is on being filled and under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God.

Let’s rebuild, restore and renew the fountain gate and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

This is where you and your family will become empowered! When the river is unleashed, you will no longer simply respond from the issues of a broken and damaged heart. With the fountain gate restored, your heart and home can be brought under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit.
  
---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Repairing the Refuse Gate: Cleanse Ourselves


  
Over the last two weeks, we've been working on the restoration of the Refuse Gate, as part of our 10-gate restoration project to fortify our hearts and homes. The first part of the Refuse Gate restoration involved working on those acknowledgments, accomplishment and accolades that are revealed to be rubbish in comparison to gaining Christ.

The following week, we began to work on those things that we discover, over time and experience, are actually toxic to our souls.

This week we must deal with the things that we already know are refuse in our lives. We don't need a great revelation or sermon. We already know what needs to be thrown out.

Paul urges us, "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Following is one of best Bible verses that expresses this aspect of the refuse gate restoration. Check out the various translations and reflect on how to apply it in your life today:

Galatians 5:19-21(NLT)
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 (NLV)
The things your sinful old self wants to do are: sex sins, sinful desires, wild living, worshiping false gods, witchcraft, hating, fighting, being jealous, being angry, arguing, dividing into little groups and thinking the other groups are wrong, false teaching, wanting something someone else has, killing other people, using strong drink, wild parties, and all things like these. I told you before and I am telling you again that those who do these things will have no place in the holy nation of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 (CEV)
People’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are  envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom.

This is the secret sinful stuff they we know is trash. Most often it’s something we enjoy, so we don’t want to give it up. Sometimes it becomes a habit or an addiction that we really struggle to throw out. Can't you see how this is directly connected to what we talked about last week? YOU CAN BE LED INTO THESE SINS BY THE TOXIC THOUGHTS, TOXIC PEOPLE, TOXIC MUSINGS, TOXIC CONNECTIONS, and TOXIC LIVING (Patterns).

Jesus told us what it would be like to restore and rebuild this gate. He said it may be like cutting off an arm or plucking out an eye. But it is something that has to be done or otherwise it leads to ultimate ruin. If you have never committed your heart and life to Jesus Christ, don’t let some sin or vice cause you to miss out on what God has for you in this life and the eternal life. If you have committed your life to Christ already, don't allow some secret sin to steal your ordained purpose and destiny. 

Matthew 18:8-10 (NKJV) “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire." 

So let’s get down to business and turn from our wicked ways. Let’s restore the refuse gate and get rid of our trash. We want to clean house so we can see the power and glory of God in our hearts and homes.


---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Repairing the Refuse Gate: Toss the Toxic


 
This week we will continue working on the Refuse Gate. Last week we discussed the first of three things we must become willing to throw out of our hearts and homes as we restore this necessary gate. We tossed out the things that we think of as being valuable, but they are actually rubbish in comparison to gaining Christ.

This week, let’s deal with the stuff that seems harmless, that we must throw away when we discover that it is refuse. There are some things that are of great value to us, but when we DISCOVER  that they are vile, filthy or harmful to us, we need to throw them away.

Hebrews 12: 1-3 reads:
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." 

As you grow in your relationship with God, you are going to discover things and people who are weighing you down or ensnaring you. Our job, as your life coach, is to point out some of those things that you will need to “watch for” along the way. You have already encountered them, so let this list serve as a brief reminder or refresher.

You must be willing to consider and watch for:

Toxic thoughts: Bitterness, worry, fear, anxiety, lust, envy, murder, an unforgiving heart. 
Toxic people: negative, critical, cynical, arrogant, boastful, selfish, narcissistic people.
Toxic musings: entertainment, music, movies, books, etc. that are reinforcing negative, vulgar, lustful, hostile, violent, prideful images, thoughts and behavior.
Toxic connections: mystical or spiritual items, objects and charms;  gifts, pictures, jewelry that binds you to the past or to demonic spiritual influences.  
Toxic living: Bad eating habits, bad sleeping habits, internet/phone addictions, video game addictions, TV addictions, alcohol, drug or pharmaceutical additions, etc. 

There is no way we can go into all of the details of this list, so when you are able, please check out our video podcast that covers this list at https://vimeo.com/53303264

You may discover that these toxins are the source of the weariness and discouragement in your soul.

Let's continue restoring the refuse gate and allowing the Holy Spirit to show us the things that have become toxic in our hearts and homes. 

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Repairing the REFUSE Gate




It's time to resume our quest to restore the gates that surround our hearts and homes. Now we come to the Refuse Gate. This is not a very pleasant gate, but it is a necessary one. It is the gate of elimination; the gate where all the rubbish and corrupt things in the city were brought to the garbage dump in the Hinnom Valley, outside Jerusalem. This gate symbolizes the necessary activity of getting the trash, filth, and waste out of our hearts and homes.

2 Chronicles 7: 14 ….If my people…. Turn from their wicked ways….

Carol and I see three things we must deal with in the rebuilding, restoration and renewing of the refuse gate.

1. We must deal with the confidence we have in our flesh, which God considers to be refuse.
2. We must deal with the things that seem harmless, that we have now discovered to be refuse.
3. We must deal with the thing that we already know is refuse, but we keep holding on to it.

First, let’s deal with our confidence in the flesh, which God considers to be refuse. Let's look at all the things the apostle Paul called rubbish:

Philippians 3: 4-9 reads:
"....though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him...."

From Paul's words we can see several things that must become refuse to us (compared to gaining Christ):
1. Our ethnicity and nationality
2. Our carnal ability to fulfill religious requirements
3. Our zeal and enthusiasm for the earthly causes for which we fight
4. The accolades, awards and acknowledgments that come to us as a result of our accomplishments and achievements through our talents, skills, education and connections.

There are many in the urban world who champion the accomplishments of athletes, entertainers, educators, scholars, politicians, preachers and many, many others. Carol and I were raised in an era when the accomplishments of African Americans were used as the primary motivation for us to strive for success in our personal lives.

However, in later years, we discovered that many of those whom we idolized for reaching those lofty goals, were often horrible husbands, wives, and parents. Many left scores of wounded souls in the wake of their success. The few who managed to keep their families in tact, were often extremely bitter, seriously scarred, or emotionally crippled by all they had dealt with through racism and other issues in their lives.

We do not dismiss, disrespect or minimize the accomplishments of those who have paved the way for us. However, what we offer you today, is what we have learned as one couple, representing one family, from the urban world: We also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, that we may gain Christ and be found in Him.

Nothing compares to Christ Jesus. He alone is the treasure. All else that we accomplish in this life, is trash by comparison to Him. Therefore, we restore the REFUSE GATE and dispose of the rubbish (all confidence in the flesh), carrying it out of our hearts and home. 

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reaching the Lost in the Urban World





Chris and Carol Green are the founders and leaders of Urban Life Family Center, a faith-based, family-focused life coaching center with an extensive internet outreach.

As urban family advocates, marriage consultants, and family life coaches, they established Urban Life to equip and empower urban people to fulfill their God-given purpose. 

They launched the Family Center, which began as a local church, in September of 2004, and through the years they found themselves coaching women in the aftermath of divorce, navigating families in crisis, and guiding individuals searching for ways to break unhealthy lifestyle cycles and patterns. They have provided personal consultation and online courses for couples preparing for marriage and for couples in the midst of marital conflict.

They bring a unique hope-centered approach, specifically in their guidance, encouragement and coaching of young women and young men who are seeking to build a better future for themselves and their children (trying to break out of the welfare system).

Students, clients, and online seekers meet with Chris and Carol in a multi-media suite or online for practical instruction that teaches them how to invest their time, talents and treasure into the fulfillment of the Great Commandment (Love God, Love yourself, Love others) and the Great Commission (Go and change the world).

The Urban Life strategy is to simply follow the model already established in the Bible, where the goal wasn't to build a religion, but to bring such change in a person's heart, that they develop a desire to help others also discover the right paths in life.

For the last 10 years, Chris and Carol haved worked full-time jobs and volunteered all of their services to help people on weekends. They received no salary and no special compensation. During those years of small beginnings, they gave away the recordings of their sessions via DVD's and CD's, as well as ALL of their books and printed materials to those who attended the sessions.

While equipping attendees weekly from their media suite, this couple constructed a solid, new-generation internet outreach that connects with and brings healing to families through an online video channel for couples, an online channel for men, an online channel for women, free daily-inspirational book downloads, on-demand podcasts, and various social media initiatives (i.e. weekly e-Newsletters, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Skype); all designed to equip people of the 21st century urban community with hope-centered teaching and training that will build their faith and families.

Their only call today is: Who will unite with us to reach the lost in the urban world?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A New Wine Skin



Today, we are in our home city, St. Louis, Missouri, taking part in a week-long anniversary celebration and conference in our home church. This is the place from which we were trained and groomed for 17 years in urban world ministry. Last night, we spoke to the elders, deacons and various ministry leaders. Tonight, we are speaking to the church congregation.

It is extremely humbling and an incredible honor to be asked to share from our lives and journey in ministry. On a personal level, this summer marks 40 years of ministry for Chris. The toughest part about tonight is going be the effort to try to communicate 40 years of experience and lessons in about 40 minutes. But we know that God will give us what to say to our dear church family.

For the past 11 years, we have been working and serving in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and we have entered a new season. A few weeks ago, we communicated with our Urban Life family that major changes were coming and those changes are now upon us.

Last Sunday was our final gathering in our old model, method and wine skin. Jesus said that a new wine skin must be used in order to contain the new wine. Two of the practices to try to squeeze more life out of an old wine skin were to soak it in water or massage it with oil. For a while, God will do that with us and His Church, but eventually the day comes when we are forced to completely discard the old wine skin and get a brand new one.

Urban Life has embraced the new wine skin!

When we return to Harrisburg next week, our gatherings will be focused totally on training and preparing people of faith to take their gifts and skills into the world outside of the church building.

We have a few months remaining on our lease and for the time we have left, we are going to put all of our effort into the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The command is to love God and to love one another in the same way Christ loves us. The commission is to go and make disciples of all nations.

For the first time in 11 years, we have an open door that gets us in direct contact with lost young people in this city. We've been praying for this for so long, that we cannot possibly waste a single moment. We are going into enemy territory like undercover secret agents. We have a navy seal, special force unit type of assignment. Therefore, from now on, Urban Life's Sunday gatherings are all about training and preparation, to learn how to connect with people who are truly lost. 

In fact, we have already advised everyone that we are changing the public persona of the ministry from a local church to a non-profit, faith-based community organization. We're going to be using terms like: life coaches and personal instructors, instead of pastors and ministers. We're totally focusing on the winning and the discipleship of this lost generation, so we're going to get our ministry ready for true 21st century outreach. 

Yes, we will still have prayer and worship, but that will be open and available for those who want to come EARLY to seek God, BEFORE our training sessions begin at 11:00AM, every Sunday morning. Eventually these training sessions will be scheduled throughout the week during business hours.

Lately, we've had people coming to us who just wanted to prophesy or preach to us and our group, in order to display their gifts. However, we're looking for those who are willing to humble themselves, submit their gifts, and be trained for a very different type of assignment in the urban world.

At the same time, God is opening more opportunities for us to take our teachings about marriage and family to the world. Therefore, you will see us releasing more alternative websites and social media efforts that will appear to be less sacred in its language, but Biblically based in its content. All of that is just part of the strategy to fulfill the Great Commission in places where the light of God is seen dimly, right now.

We apologize that we cannot give you more details, but to do so would disclose too much and give the enemy opportunities to sabotage what is happening. Just know that we have had a tremendous breakthrough and we can finally start doing what we were sent out from St. Louis to do 11 years ago. We don't think it is a coincidence that this week, we are in St. Louis just before we launch into this new era.

So we ask you for your prayers as we minister tonight in St. Louis, as we return to Pennsylvania to launch a major undercover offensive to reach the lost in Harrisburg, and as we respond to the Macedonian calls that are coming our way from across the country and around the world.

We are overcomers, under orders,

-Chris and Carol Green